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Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs, Unemployment 6.2%

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs, Unemployment 6.2%
The high-flying labor market showed no let-up in July as employers added 209,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 6.2% from 6.1%, the Labor Department said Friday, as 329,000 Americans, including many who had given up their job searches, surged back into the labor force. Although July’s gains fell short of estimates and average monthly job growth of nearly 230,000 so far this year, it marked the sixth straight month of 200,000-plus employment increases — the longest such stretch since 1997.

Hannity Flips Out on Palestinian-American Guest
Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post: On Thursday, Sean Hannity invited Yousef Munayyer — a Palestinian-American who is the executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and who is a frequent guest on cable news — on his show, and the two had a reasoned discussion about Israel’s current invasion of Gaza. Just kidding! Hannity went ballistic after Munayyer’s first sentence and spent the entire segment screaming at him. Sample Hannity quote: “Is Hamas a terrorist organization? What part of this can’t you get througn your thick head?” Sample Munayyer quote: “Do I get to say anything in this conversation?”


Obama: Russia, Putin ignoring their own interests

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama: Russia, Putin ignoring their own interests
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the U.S. is limited in what it can do to deter Russia’s actions in Ukraine because Russia and President Vladimir Putin are ignoring their long-term interests.

Obama: Congress ducking “big ticket items” like immigration

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama: Congress ducking “big ticket items” like immigration
President Obama slams Republicans for stalling action on a variety of issues in Congress.

Mark Levin: Jewish Obama Donors Are “Self-Haters” Who “Despise Their Own Country”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Mark Levin: Jewish Obama Donors Are “Self-Haters” Who “Despise Their Own Country”

From the July 31 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Mark Levin Show:

Previously:

Mark Levin Rant Targets The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart: “I Don’t Trust Jews Who Change Their Names” 


Mark Levin: The Go-To Radio Host For GOP Lawmakers Despite Inflammatory Rhetroic


Give Kerry a Break

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Give Kerry a Break
Eugene Robinson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry was right to push for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza earlier this week. All outside parties should do everything they can to end a war in which both Israel and Hamas have seemed willing to fight to the death of the last Palestinian civilian. Kerry has been slammed as naive for pressing Israel to end its attack, which as of this writing has cost the lives of more than 1,300 Palestinians and 59 Israelis. The contention of Kerry’s critics — essentially that more killing of innocent civilians is justified if, in the end, Hamas is defanged and…

Bipartisanship Is Alive and Well, But Not in the Obama White House
Michael Barone, RealClearPolitics
Bipartisanship is dead. That’s the conventional wisdom, and there’s a lot of evidence to support it. But there’s evidence to the contrary as well. On two important issues, veterans’ health and job training, congressional Republicans and Democrats have, with little notice, reached constructive bipartisan agreements. These are both issues on which everyone agrees government should be involved. The country certainly owes something to veterans. And no one’s proposing to eliminate job training programs altogether. But government is also not doing a good job on either. The Veterans Affairs…

The Islamic State’s Challenge
David Ignatius, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — Warnings from U.S. officials about the terrorist Islamic State that has established a safe haven in Iraq and Syria sound ominously like the intelligence alerts that preceded al-Qaeda’s attack on Sept. 11, 2001. Richard Ledgett, the deputy director of the National Security Agency, told the Aspen Security Forum last week that the “most worrisome” threat he’s tracking are the thousands of foreign fighters training with the Islamic State. Lisa Monaco, the White House counterterrorism adviser, told the same gathering that the al-Qaeda spinoff poses a potential danger to the U.S….

Obama’s Possible Immigration Action: Would It Be Legal?
Michael Cipriano, RealClearPolitics
Even as House Republicans prepare to file a lawsuit over what they call President Obama’s abuse of executive authority, White House officials have let it be known that Obama is considering unilaterally issuing work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants as a way of shielding them from deportation. Aside from any political fallout from such a move, one question that has been raised concerns whether a president actually has such authority. The most prominent school of thought, legal experts say, is that the measure being floated would fall within a president’s purview….


Town to get £2m after pier blaze

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Town to get £2m after pier blaze
Eastbourne is to get a boost of up to £2m following a fire that left the former arcade on the town’s pier a charred shell, Downing Street has said.

Miliband London job claim criticised
Ed Miliband’s claim that “four out of five” new jobs in Britain were in London has been questioned by the UK statistics watchdog.


Ebola Virus Is Outpacing Efforts to Control It, World Health Body Warns

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Ebola Virus Is Outpacing Efforts to Control It, World Health Body Warns
Leaders of the affected countries and the head of the World Health Organization introduced a $100 million plan to combat the disease that will allow hundreds of medical professionals to be deployed to West Africa.






Insurgents Kill a Lawmaker in Somalia
Gunmen killed the lawmaker, Aden Madeer, as he left a mosque in Mogadishu. He was the fifth member of Somalia’s Parliament to be killed by insurgents this year.






Kerry Calls on Qatar and Turkey to Gain Release of Israeli Soldier
Secretary of State John Kerry asked the two nations to use their influence after the abduction, which took place shortly after a cease-fire was to go into effect.







Three Things Conservatives Wrote This Week That Everyone Should Read

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Three Things Conservatives Wrote This Week That Everyone Should Read

A look at the smartest writing offered up by the conservative press this week.

The post Three Things Conservatives Wrote This Week That Everyone Should Read appeared first on ThinkProgress.

elephant-9

CREDIT: Shutterstock

Welcome to TP Ideas‘ weekly roundup of the best conservative writing! Every Friday, we take a look at three pieces by right-leaning writers that constructively articulate core elements of their worldview. The goal isn’t to find conservatives telling us how right liberals are, but rather to pick out writing that helps liberals understand where their ideological foes are coming from.

So let’s get started.

1. “There Is Nothing Modern About Euthanasia” — Helen Andrews, The Center for Independent Studies

The argument over legalizing suicide doesn’t break down precisely on liberal vs conservative grounds, but the Venn diagrams do overlap a lot. And one point many liberals and other supporters put forward is that longer lifespans and the technological ability to almost indefinitely extend life, no matter how miserable in quality, have changed the moral facts on the ground.

But this assumes that attempts to legalize suicide were not made before those technological advancements, and that prior to them prolonged suffering by a patient was not a major medical concern. According to Helen Andrews — a policy analyst at The Centre for Independent Studies — neither of these assumptions are true. Euthanasia advocacy, she argues, “has waxed and waned according to changes in politics and culture, not medicine.”

The first time that a legislator in an English-speaking country introduced a bill to legalise physician-assisted suicide was in 1906, when a member of the Ohio state legislature in the US tabled such a bill on behalf of a woman whose mother died from cancer. The British Parliament saw its first euthanasia bill introduced in 1936. The Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938.

None of these landmark pushes occurred in response to advances in medical technology. Certainly they predated the explosion in life-prolonging technologies like artificial respiration that occurred in the 1960s.

Early euthanasia advocates were moved by the same problem we face today: the existence of incurable diseases that leave patients hopeless and suffering. Whatever your opinion on the morality of assisted suicide, no one can claim that this tragedy is unique to the modern era.

Indeed, earlier debates on euthanasia are almost identical to those conducted in the press and in parliaments today. One reason for this is that 20th century proponents of assisted suicide proposed the same safeguards as their modern heirs: verification that the patient truly wills his or her own death voluntarily; confirmation that the patient is of sound mind; and professional consensus that the case is truly hopeless. [...]

These precautions were nevertheless found to be insufficient. There was felt to be too much potential for abuse and error — by unscrupulous relatives, by doctors with imperfect judgment, and by others. These concerns apply with equal force to modern bills that rely on similar safeguards.

Andrews goes on to make a few other points about popular assumptions concerning the opponents of legalization. But for our purposes here, the historical lesson is the real value. Andrews’ argument doesn’t directly address the moral questions involved, but for supporters of legalization, the honest fact that the same questions have been debated before — and democratic bodies have provided answers — is an important and educational bit of information to acknowledge.

2. “Paul Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Plan: Welfare on a Human Scale?” — Amber Lapp, Family Studies

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his proposal for reforming how the U.S. federal government addresses poverty last week. And while it has some aspects liberals can get behind, its centerpiece is a scheme to consolidate a host of poverty programs into one lump sum of money that would be given to states to experiment with — with the requirement that they rely on local charities and community groups for caseworkers, who would help poor families and individuals construct a life plan of sorts. If the beneficiaries fail to meet the plan, sanctions and the possible loss of benefits would result.

Liberals have understandably objected to the proposal as the worst kind of aristocratic micromanagement of poor people’s lives. But over at the Family Studies blog this week, Amber Lapp decided to ask a few low-income Americans what they themselves thought of Ryan’s proposal. So she spoke to Scott and Emma, a young couple with three children, who must rely on a smorgasbord of different aid programs to stay afloat.

With two jobs and three kids and paperwork to keep up with in order to keep their benefits — “you’ve got to have a file folder and be organized,” Scott says — the idea of having one caseworker coordinate all of their benefits and alert them to other options is appealing. It’s better than talking to a different person every time or dealing with answering machines, Scott says. “Half the time when you call the office, no one answers anyway.”

With one caseworker that you would get to know over time, Scott thought a certain level of trust would develop, an important point given the general distrust of caseworkers among poor women that Judith Levine documents in her book, Ain’t No Trust. It might be easier to build trust if, as Ryan’s plan proposes, people have the option of working with case managers who are already on the ground, the types that see this kind of work as a calling and mission. [...]

There is something important about this human connection — we all know how frustrating it is to call customer service only to wander through an automated maze. Scott and Emma’s neighbor, a single mom of two, said that that’s what sounded good about Ryan’s plan. “Now when you go to the office to get food stamps no one even talks to you. You just fill out the paperwork and then go home and wait for a phone call.”

She thought that working with a case manager to make an opportunity plan — which would assess her strengths and opportunities to grow, and help her set short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals — could help her towards her goal of getting out of public housing, preferably to a trailer on a big plot of land in the country.

When I showed Scott a sample “opportunity plan,” his eyes got big — he’s generally an expressive guy, full of dramatic gestures — and he exclaimed, “I think that could help us get to where we want. I want a house of our own way out in the boonies.” He flung his arm up in the air and behind his head, as if to show just how far off the boonies were.

To her credit, Lapp acknowledges these stories only buttress some aspects of Ryan’s proposal, such as the presence of the caseworker and the simplified stream of resources. Whether the life plans should be mandatory, or whether people should face the loss of benefits if they fail to meet the plans’ goals, is another matter. “I worry about the effect this would have on the children of adults who fail to meet their goals,” Lapp admits. “And in some cases, it seems like this would defeat the purpose of the safety net.” Nor does Ryan account for just how massive and well-funded the army of caseworkers would have to be for his scheme to work.

That said, democracy is the art of compromise. If Ryan’s proposal is viewed simply as an opening bid in a negotiation, liberals should think seriously about which parts of the plan they could live with as well as which parts they should insist on discarding.

3. “Marital Completionism: A Bad Model for Thruples and Couples Alike” — Leah Libresco, The American Conservative

A number of articles have popped recently defending non-monogamous relationships and other lifestyle alternatives to marriage. Over at the American Conservative this week, blogger Leah Libresco noticed that these defenses tend to share the common assumption that marriage should fulfill the “full smorgasbord” of the married couple’s emotional and sexual needs. It’s an assumption, Libresco points out, that’s actually quite popular amongst modern married people who are monogamous as well — and one, she argues, that’s both incorrect and destructive:

It’s natural for friends to fill the gaps in a marital relationship, indulging interests that aren’t shared with the spouse, providing emotional support, and simply varying our lens on the world. After all, C.S. Lewis’s observation in The Four Loves that “Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other. Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest,” wasn’t meant as an aspirational image for spouses.

Spouses shouldn’t wind up completely sated by a relationship, able to retreat from the rest of the world. Married people, just like singles, have some needs that are best met by a friend or by a neighbor or by family. Our mutual, unsated needs draw us together in service to each other.

Few partners will be in danger of making a complete retreat, utterly emotionally self-sufficient as a dyad, but aiming at this goal is as destructive as achieving it. Spouses in this situation are likely to sell their friendships short, failing to rely on them… The spouse you pick shouldn’t be the one who makes you happiest, but the one who makes you more kind, prudent, and generous, and to whom you can give the same gift. You join to grow, not to accommodate the desires of your present self.

In short, the assumption of the perfect partner not only sets up impossible goals for marriages, but devalues and undermines friendships as well.

Things can get amusing, such as the moment in one of the articles Libresco cites when a woman in a non-monogamous marriage says she needs a second boyfriend to go to the theatre with her, since her husband isn’t a fan. As Libresco asks, why didn’t the woman “just book season tickets for herself and a friend?” Of course, the husband’s reason for taking on another partner was that his wife wasn’t interested in BDSM sexual practices — a problem that isn’t so easily solved by Libresco’s defense of a better understanding of the purpose of monogamous marriage.

The post Three Things Conservatives Wrote This Week That Everyone Should Read appeared first on ThinkProgress.

eBay Releases Strongest Diversity Numbers In Silicon Valley, But They Still Need Work

Ebay releases diversity numbers that fare better than the competition but still need improvement.

The post eBay Releases Strongest Diversity Numbers In Silicon Valley, But They Still Need Work appeared first on ThinkProgress.

ebay headquarters logo

CREDIT: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

EBay is officially more diverse than other tech giants who have so far released their hiring statistics. Its newly released diversity report shows the company is leading the industry with more women in leadership roles and whites making up the minority in tech jobs.

The auction site posted its diversity report Thursday, following the lead of other tech industry giants. Lately, industry leaders — such as Google, Yahoo and, most recently, Twitter — have set off a flurry of reports seemingly to boost transparency and start shedding its “brogrammer” reputation.

The tech industry is known for being dominated by white men, inculcating an exclusive culture that shuts out women and people of color. Overall, women in tech are outnumbered seven to three by men. Less than 40 percent of employees aren’t white, and Asians make up the vast majority of that slice.

At eBay, women make up 24 percent of tech jobs and 28 percent of leadership positions — seven percentage points better than Google. Unlike other tech companies, Asians outnumber whites on the tech side in the U.S. at 55 percent, with African-Americans, Hispanics and multiracial employees making up 5 percent together. But the scale tips in non-tech sector that’s traditionally more diverse, where 70 percent of the staff is white.

ebay

eBay’s demographics fare better than the likes of Google and Twitter, mainly when it comes to hiring women. According to a blog post announcing the report, eBay credits the uptick in female employees — whose ranks have doubled since 2011 — to its Women’s Initiative Network (WIN).

Ebay’s CEO John Donahue launched WIN in 2011 with a conference that brought all of the company’s 200 plus female leaders together to discuss how to best recruit and retain women. Ebay also noted its commitment to the LGBT community, and its public support of marriage equality.

Google has launched a similar initiative, Made With Code, to help encourage school age girls to study computer science. Google’s program and others like it aim to close the gap in the workforce that starts in high school, where fewer than 20 percent of high school girls take the computer science advanced placement (AP) test or graduate with a college degree in the field.

The tech industry overall faces similar challenges when it comes to ethnic diversity. eBay noted it actively recruits from networks like BlackPlanet, Black Women Connect, and the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s. But the obstacles facing non-white tech workers start long before the job search; blacks and Hispanics generally make up less than 5 percent of computer science degree holders. To truly reverse its diversity problem, Silicon Valley companies are starting to realize they need to ramp up outreach efforts through programs like Black Girls Code and Code2040, as well as recruit from a different array of colleges to make the industry less homogenous.

The post eBay Releases Strongest Diversity Numbers In Silicon Valley, But They Still Need Work appeared first on ThinkProgress.


His Name Was Ahed Zaqout: Former Palestinian Soccer Star Killed in Gaza

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

His Name Was Ahed Zaqout: Former Palestinian Soccer Star Killed in Gaza
From: Dave Zirin

This country publicly shamed Donald Sterling for racism in the sports world. So why should we stand by a country that killed an athlete because of his race? 

Christie Touts Anti–Public Schools Record on 2016 Campaign Trail
From: The Christie Watch

He’ll do to the country what he did to Newark’s schools, the governor promises.

GOP: How Dare You Say What I Said About Impeachment
From: Leslie Savan

The media know better, but find false equivalences anyway.

This Ruling Just Gave Workers a Big Boost in Their Fight Against McDonald’s
From: Michelle Chen

The fast-food giant must now admit that it’s responsible for the people it employs. 


Bill Clinton Pre-9/11: ‘I Could Have Killed’ Bin Laden

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bill Clinton Pre-9/11: ‘I Could Have Killed’ Bin Laden
Former President Bill Clinton reportedly told a group of Australian businessmen 10 hours before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks that he could have killed Osama Bin Laden. Sky News Australia claimed that only 10 hours before the first plane struck the World Trade Center, Clinton told a business group in Melbourne that he had a chance to kill Bin Laden but passed on it because the operation would have also killed hundreds of innocent civilians in Afghanistan. “Osama Bin Laden — he’s a very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once,” Clinton says on a never-before-released audio recording of his remarks. “I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him.” Hear the recording on Sky News Australia’s Paul Murray Live.

Demoted Worker Shoots Boss in Chicago High-Rise
A recently demoted executive at the Chicago food services tech company ArrowStream shot the company’s CEO twice and then shot and killed himself on Thursday morning. Police have not named the 59-year-old shooter or the 52-year-old executive, who is hospitalized in critical condition with wounds to the head and stomach. “Apparently he was despondent over the fact that he got demoted,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said.